Biltmore Estate; adoring our vegetarian hempnut burgers at Laughing Seed Cafe, strolling the aisles at Malaprops, one of my all-time favorite bookstores. This magical little burg is a mix of many of my personally preferred attributes: a town of seemingly boundless creativity in every aspect that still pays great tribute to its history and all of it surrounded by majestic natural beauty. How fitting that this would be the home of one of my favorite people; my dear friend Erica.
I've spoken of Erica before; of how she's the niece of my friend Kaki; how I would be instantly enchanted by her 9-year-old self at her family's home in Boston many years ago; how she would decide then that I inexplicably resembled Ricky Ricardo and that we would then became Ricky and Lucy for life. I would send her a rose from "Ricky" to her school when we left Boston and more than a decade later, she would appear at my father's funeral in West Virginia bearing a rose for me in return. She once wrote a fascinating letter to me recounting the many dining rituals of Africa where she was serving in the Peace Corps that I posted on this blog. I have said often and continue to believe she is one of those young people who give me great and powerful hope for the future.
Lightning-quick that it was, even a small taste of Asheville and a short visit with the ever-enchanting Erica is tonic for my cynical soul.